Treatment for Addiction
Effective treatments for drug and alcohol addiction are available. Substance abuse treatment doesn’t just deal with the drugs or alcohol. Treatment helps to work through life’s problems that may contribute to the addiction. Treatment may also move people to healthy living.
The first step on the road to recovery is recognizing a problem. An intervention staged by concerned friends and family often prompts treatment.
An intervention involves interceding in the life or behavior of a person, in the hopes of changing their behavior. In many cases, an intervention may also include an ultimatum presented to the addict, and in some cases, an intervention might involve a professional who works with the group, but others do not.
It’s commonly stated that people cannot recover from substance abuse unless they want to, but involuntary commitment is sometimes successful. In these cases, detoxification and support can help the person think more clearly and choose recovery.
Although treatment programs differ, the essential parts of treatment are similar. Most programs include many or all elements presented below. Because addiction often affects many aspects of a person’s life, multiple types of treatment are often required. Some combination of medication and therapy works well for most. Treatment approaches that address an individual’s situation and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric and social problems can lead to sustained recovery.
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Substance abuse disorders are treated by many different kinds of professionals. In reputable treatment programs, the main caregivers are certified or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors.
Patients are assigned to a to a treatment team of professionals, in many programs. Depending on the type of treatment, teams can be made up of social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, or other professionals.
According to the National Institutes of Health, addiction treatment must help an addicted person:
- Stop using drugs
- Remain drug-free
- Lead a productive life at home, at work, an in society
There are many drug treatment options with a successful track record including:
- Evaluation and treatment plan for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Behavioral counseling
- Skills training
- Long-term follow-up aimed at preventing relapse
Evaluation and Assessment
Treatment programs generally begin with a clinical assessment of a person’s individual treatment needs. This assessment helps in the development of an effective treatment plan.
A treatment team, along with the person in treatment, establishes a treatment plan based on the clinical assessment. An individual's treatment plan is a written guide that includes the person’s goals, treatment activities designed to help meet those goals, a timeframe for meeting goals, and benchmarks to determine whether a goal has been reached. The treatment plan is designed to help both the person in treatment and treatment program staff stay on track. The treatment plan is fine-tuned over time to meet changing needs and ensure that it remains relevant.
Medical care typically includes screening and treatment for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and women’s health issues. Medications are used to control drug cravings and relieve severe symptoms of withdrawal. Three common medications are buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. The medications are often referred to by popular brand names, such as Suboxone or Vivitrol.
Therapy can help addicted individuals understand their behavior and motivations, cope with stress and develop higher self-esteem. Individual counseling typically focuses on motivating the addicted person to stop using drugs or alcohol. Treatment then shifts to helping the person stay drug and alcohol-free.
A therapist helps:
- Address problems and motivates change
- Mend damaged relationships with family members and friends
- Build new friendships with people who do not use alcohol or drugs
- Create a recovery lifestyle.
Group counseling differs in each program, but group members usually support each other by sharing their experiences, feelings and problems. Group counseling may also explore spirituality and its role in recovery.
Residential programs often last long enough to offer education, job training skills, and even career training. In some programs, residents attend school as part of their program.
Long-term follow-up may help to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety. This follow-up support may include attending regular in-person support groups or online meetings to help keep your recovery on track.
Types of treatment programs
Several types of treatment programs are available:
- Inpatient treatment
- Residential programs
- Partial hospitalization or day treatment
- Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs
- Methadone clinics
Inpatient treatment, provided at many treatment centers, offers both detoxification and rehabilitation services. Residential programs also have a living environment with treatment services. Several models of residential treatment (such as the therapeutic community) exist, and the length of treatment stays in these programs varies. The programs differ in some ways, but they are also similar in many ways.
Most residential programs often have phases of treatment, with different expectations and activities during each period. For example, in the initial phase, contact with family, friends, and job may be restricted. This limited contact helps the person become part of the treatment community and adjust to the recovery environment. If you or your loved one is in a residential treatment program, it is essential that you understand the program rules and expectations.
Partial Hospitalization (PHP)/Day Treatments
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) or day treatment programs also
may be provided. Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but wish to still live at home in a stable environment. These treatment programs usually meet at a treatment center for 7 to 8 hours during the day; then patients return home at night.
Outpatient/ Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs provide treatment at a program site, but the person lives elsewhere (usually at home). Many outpatient programs can be scheduled around work or school. Intensive outpatient treatment programs require a person to attend 9 to 20 hours of treatment activities per week.
A methadone clinic is a place where a person can receive medication-based therapy. This treatment is often referred to as replacement therapy.
Counseling is a significant component of rehab, as you learn to prevent behaviors that contribute to substance abuse. Therapy can also help addicted individuals understand their motivations, develop higher self-esteem, cope with stress and address other mental health problems. Treatment may also include:
12-Step meetings help strengthen peer support and promote the continued practice of working a recovery program. In addition to these meetings, clients may participate in groups focused on the principles of 12-Step and/or peer support groups.
Recovery-Oriented Challenge Therapy
This type of experiential therapy is centered on an activity in which a clinical professional can actively engage with clients. Examples include group challenges, outdoor activities, ropes courses, equine therapy, games or other skill-building healing activities. Designed to help clients identify strengths and skills, build social support, and address fundamental recovery issues, these groups assist with the development of self-care, boundaries, accountability, and trust.
Expressive Therapies in Recovery
Offered at select facilities, this form of group therapy provides clients opportunities to express their creativity and process how their expressions relate to recovery. Examples include music and art therapies.
Although in many ways you must take the journey of recovery alone, you also live as a part of a family. Your actions affect the lives of those close to you, and you can and should rely on them for support when needed. Family participation in drug rehab is important. Your family members need to learn what they can do to help you stay sober and what they may have done in the past that contributed to your drug abuse. Your loved ones will also need to learn to accept the limitations inherent in their assistance.
You may also have to make some amends to family members for wrongs done while using or drinking. An impartial family counselor can help guide a family through difficult reconciliations.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, peer support is crucial to long-term recovery. Aftercare services can fulfill many functions: offering emotional strength, providing education or information about addiction, helping you connect with community resources (transportation, healthcare, affordable housing, etc.), or introducing you to social groups that can give you a sense of belonging.
Getting Clean and Sober in Florida
There are many drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in South Florida. The area has long been a destination for patients seeking treatment for substance abuse. Thousands of people have found sobriety in the Sunshine State. The current opioid epidemic has unfortunately led to a spate of unethical practices within the addiction treatment industry. As is often the case, ethical drug and alcohol rehab centers in South Florida get lumped in with the few bad apples. Over time, the unscrupulous firms are being weeded out. Florida officials have set up task forces to clean up the industry, and they've arrested dozens of program operators on charges related to improper treatment. So before choosing a rehab, do your research.
Does Treatment Work?
That’s the main question pondered by people who are considering enrolling in drug or alcohol rehab. Those looking for a sure thing may be disappointed. There’s no sure thing when it comes to recovery. It’s honest to say treatment can work. For thousands of people each year, it does work.
In many ways, drug treatment is analogous to diabetes treatment. Like diabetes, drug addiction is a lifelong, chronic disease. And, like diabetes, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk – but the disease will always be part of your life. This is reality; it is not meant to be pessimistic or discouraging.
Just like diabetes treatment, having the right care team and the right plan is not enough. The patient has to willingly and faithfully follow medical advice and treatment plans.
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What’s more likely to happen is that you’ll come out with the tools and support you need to manage your addiction, just like a diabetic has to control his/her diabetes. Learning about the underlying causes of drug use and addiction will help you resist temptations to use again in the future. Through detoxification, your body will also rid itself of the drug so that it can begin to heal and function properly.
Treatment is not 100% foolproof – but if you follow your treatment plan, heed the advice of the professionals with whom you work and commit to making the changes that are necessary to pursue a healthier future, drug rehab can work.